A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. shortens second COVID-19 vaccine wait from 16 weeks to eight

Pfizer second dose after Moderna safe, effective, Dr. Henry says

B.C. public health officials have enough COVID-19 vaccine to offer second doses eight weeks after the first, starting with the oldest people still waiting for a second coronavirus vaccine.

People aged 70 and older and those who are clinically vulnerable will start receiving invitations for second-dose appointments starting Thursday (May 27), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said. Earlier when the pandemic was surging in March and April, the interval was extended to up to 16 weeks to get first-dose protection to as many people as possible.

Once the estimated 700,000 people who are 70 and older or clinically vulnerable have received second doses, the program will continue down by age as with first doses. Remote and Indigenous communities that received first doses for all age groups at once will have the same clinics for second doses.

Henry said recent interruptions in supply of Moderna vaccine are expected to level out by the end of June, but some people who received Moderna for a first dose may be offered the Pfizer vaccine for their second dose. She said research is showing that interchanging the two messenger RNA vaccines is safe and effective.

“I would encourage people to take the Pfizer if it is offered,” Henry said.

For those who received a first dose of AstraZeneca, a more traditional viral vector vaccine, Henry said results of studies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere on mixing with messenger RNA vaccines are still being conducted. But B.C. has sufficient AstraZeneca supplies on hand to proceed with second doses, as soon as deliveries are arranged with the pharmacies and workplaces where first doses were delivered, she said.

Henry reported 378 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the 24 hours up to May 27, an increase after two days of fewer than 300 new infections. There are 286 people in hospital, 88 of them in intensive care, and seven more deaths attributed to COVID-19. The overall infection rate is trending down rapidly after reaching a peak of more than 1,200 a day in early April.

Health Minister Adrian Dix also announced the resumption of scheduled surgeries at Lower Mainland hospitals where they were suspended to reassign beds and staff to deal with the spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations in March and April. Scheduled surgeries resumed in one of the three operating rooms at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and one of four suspended operating rooms at Surrey Memorial Hospital, with normal operations resuming by June 7 at those hospitals as well as Royal Columbian and Burnaby Hospitals.

RELATED: Whistler-Blackcomb to reopen Monday for summer

RELATED: No decision yet on reopening Canada-U.S. border


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Firefighters were called to a grass fire on a hillside slope behind the post office in Summerland on Friday shortly before 2 p.m. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Firefighters extinguish blaze behind Summerland Post Office

Fire on hillside slope occurred Friday, June 18 shortly before 2 p.m.

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Emergency crews responded to Highway 97 after a motorcycle incident. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Motorcyclist taken to hospital after collision on Highway 97

It is not known the extent of their injuries

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read